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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

O My Brothers

This post was meant to be a detailed account of my witnessing the historical F1 night race at Singapore but I happened to read an article about how facebook is full of narcissistic folks and so I decided not to write about myself. Instead, this post is about unusual relationships that brothers share. Yes. Real life brothers.

In the interest of keeping it simple, I am going to focus on brothers only a few years apart, maximum of two. If you have brothers with age-difference of more than two years, you are welcome to write about them yourself. You are probably thinking that after a big(?) speech about not being vain, here I go again talking about my brothers. But, my pre-condition has already disqualified them. This post is a direct outcome of my close encounter with a friend and his brother with F1 race in the background.

It is actually quite a surprise that I have never really spent too much time with others' brothers and I intend to make amends. So, my friend asked me to chauffeur his older brother from KL to Singapore. Let's name them A(**h***) and B(rother) respectively. B's demeanor is exactly the same as A. He even walks and talks like A. Both are excellent navigators. But thats where the similarity ends. While A is still coming to terms with his committment phobia, B who is just an year older, is already married with two kids. A is the new urban male (His bathroom is packed with lotions/facemasks that would embarass some females), B is down to earth and survives on basic necessities including bollywood music. A is a corporate servant while B is a businessman. A's energy levels are always low till 11 PM, B is wired throughout the day and dutifully retires at 10PM.

Now that you have a visual representation of the two men in contention, let me get into the unsual manner in which they communicate. B did'nt have a ticket for the race event (Public knowledge) while A had a spare one (Privately held information).

A: You sure you dont want to go for the race?
B: Yeah man. F1 is not the most spectator friendly event. Besides I dont have a ticket.
A: We can figure out the tickets separately but do you want to go or not?
B: How will you figure out the tickets? I will watch it on TV. Its ok.
A: Leave tickets to me. This is my city. I will work it out. Do you want to go or not?
B: No man. I will watch at home itself.

My interpretation: A wanted to show to B who is the boss while B didnt want to concede that pleasure to A. The ticket went waste. Score: 0-0

Another similar instance. Its night time and A is offering everybody regular drinks while diplomatically avoiding suggestions to open his wine cellar, except that it was quite apparent.
B: I want to have wine. Who wants to have wine with me?
A: Everybody wants to have single malt.
B: So let them say for themselves, no?
A: Fine. (Nobody dared asking for wine)
A: Told you so.
B: I dont want to drink anything else. I will just sit here.
A: You want to have wine?
B: Yes. Wasnt that obvious?
A: Ok. Which wine do you want?
B: Any wine.
A: Cabernet-sauvignon or white wine?
B: You have merlot?
A: You said any wine.
B: Ok. give me white wine. Is it cold?
A: No. its not.
B: Then never mind.
A: So what do you want?
B: Which is better? Cabernet or Merlot?
A: I dont know. Tell me what you want.
B: Never mind.
A: Ok. Merlot is better.
B: Give me merlot then.

My interpretation: A didnt want to accede to B's demands as he has done the entire period of growing up. B understood it and played it back and showed who is in-charge. B has had a lifelong headstart at this game and A was bound to lose. Merlot was that one bottle that A didnt want to open but was left with no choice. Score: 0-1

Despite home advantage, A lost to B and in my opinion, he is forever doomed to lose. Here is what they have to say about each other. Its a pity that they probably would never say that in person, that is why I step in as the brotherly cupid:

A: I would be happy if I have half as energy as him when I have two kids.
B: He is very independent. I dont think I can survive like he has, out on his own.
A: He is quite a character to have around. Although, you need to discourage him a bit here and there or else, you might end up biking on the east coast beach on a hot tropical afternoon.
B: He has got great taste. He is the english types. Little Hi-Fi. Actually quite a lot.
A: The problem with growing up is that I was regularly beaten up by my brother but when I became big enough, we were too old to fight. But the growing up was good fun, regardless.

Edited to add:
1. The instances above are highly simplified versions of even more complex human behavior eg. A didnt have a spare ticket on him, it was with his friend. This simplification is done to solely explain the theme of unusual brotherhood which is fairly universal and doesnt just apply to A & B. Sorry, mates, you are not that special, afterall.
2. The reason why I chose brothers with less than two years age-difference is because if they were not brothers, they could have been the best of friends. Unfortunately, the same brotherhood brings along inhibitions. How ironic.
3. On behalf of all elder brothers, they give you a hard time because they would rather do to you first what the world is going to do to you eventually anyway. They dont want you to get the shock like they themselves had received when they stepped out. This way, you get toughened up in a test-tube. Not the best of the logic but then this is human behavior.

Monday, September 15, 2008

There will be order.

When a friend asked me to drop him home, I was disturbed. Not because, I didn't want to drop him. In fact, his place was on the way to my place except I would have had to take a different expressway. Yes. You got it right. I was disturbed because I would be taking a different route. Actually, this route is not all that bad. It is faster and has less traffic, although a bit long and at a higher toll. For a guy who loves driving and for whom money doesn't matter (Not as long as I can afford an iPhone and a fast car), this route would have been an ideal choice. Further, it is not that I didn't know about this route. I have taken it in the past and know all these facts beforehand. Yet, I have always discarded this in favor of the freeway which is shorter but is slow and has a traffic jam for a certain stretch at precisely the same point. A little soul-searching confirmed that the underlying reason for my turmoiled state was the deviation from normal. I like the predictability of the freeway, how I can count on driving at sub-three digit speeds, the clockwork precision of the traffic jam at exactly the same point and the jubiliation of acceleration once I am through the jam.

Oh, the human need for an order amid entropy! We force structure on an otherwise beautifully heterogenous universe. We construct increasingly complex theories and models to explain its workings. It is not necessery if we can explain everything. As long as we can make assumptions (wild or not) and can have a working construct, we can sleep in peace. We explain why apple always falls down by way of a mysterious force called gravity. We explain the sub-atomic universe by quantum mechanics and the cosmic universe by a combination of string and whacko multi-dimensional theories. Heck, when we still can't find order in the everyday events, we explain it by way of, yeah behold, Chaos theory.

Of course, like everything under the sun, you can trace the origins of human need for order to the Evolution Theories. We have survived partly because of our ability to find pattern and we continue to strive for the same. It explains why I always park all the way down to the third level even when on rare occassions I come early in office. Actually, it is more because my mind refuses to work at that early an hour. Once when I had parked on the first level, I still searched for my car on the third level for a good fifteen minutes in the evening. One has to survive and so I diligently park on the third level as a rule.

Two clear observations about the above pointless rant. One, it is a pointless rant and two, I need order in life. The obvious conclusion is that I am growing old.